Originally published Feb. 5, 2014
I talk about taking action as a requirement for success. Really, at the root of action is decision-making. Indecision is a killer…but that is a different topic. Today I want to talk about the decision to decline. Saying “No” really will allow you to lead your business to the success that YOU have foreseen. If you know when to say “No” (and learn the graceful ways to deliver this little word) you really can be the master of your business. Saying “No” lets others understand that you know exactly where your business is going and exactly what it will take to get there.
The first “No” that really empowers an owner is the first time you turn down a potential client that is waiving dollar bills under your nose. That shift from just wanting money coming in the door to deciding what type of client and what type of project or products will be offered through your company is a huge step towards success and growth. Clear focus on what you deliver and how you will best meet a client’s needs lets you confidently turn down prospects with needs that are not the correct match. These miss-matches usually lead to disappointment or frustration on everyone’s part! This clarity can also allow for ease of referrals. When you are able to specifically describe why one client or project is wrong for your business others will more easily refer what is best for your business.
The next “No’ that can build the power of a business and business owner is “No” to the wrong press. And really, “No” to the wrong marketing opportunity is what this is about. Too often, I hear about business owners that are excited to be asked to speak at an event or to have a media piece written about their company. Certainly, the adage that “There is no bad press” holds some truth. However, your time is limited. How much time will it take out of a day to travel to a lunch engagement? You will need to get there, meet & greet with everyone, speak as a keynote, stay for the follow-up meet & greet at the end of the event and travel back to the office. YIKES! It can be a real drain and that is not even considering the prep time.
Stop and find out if the audience will contain a convertible number of your target market. What is your cost if you spend 4 – 7 hours of a day with a client? Are there likely to be 3 of your target market in attendance or 100? Speaking to the Interior Design Association luncheon if you are a Chiropractic Doctor may not be in your best interest unless you have noticed an uptick of Interior Design clients due to trending heavy and difficult to move home designs. If you are a photographer…maybe this would work better for you. Interior designers rely heavily on documenting their work through photographs. Understanding who hires you and why allows you to decide where best to use your marketing resources and, most specifically, access to you as the business owner.
Another opportunity to build your brand, business and power as a business owner is the ability to say “No” to prospective partners. With the growth and success of a company, partnership and affiliation possibilities will come into play. We will acknowledge that we can’t, or do not need to, do it all alone. Finding like-minded companies and business partners can be a real path to expansion and larger markets. It does need to be strategic. There should be benefit for each company. But deciding to say yes should include ensuring that the partnerships will build your visibility, reputation and market reach into the correct directions. “No” can be a real answer if it is not a good match for your business. Trusting your instincts can be a big part of this “No”. You will need to enjoy being associated with the company or people and their reputations. While clear vision is important to using the power of “No”; having the confidence to listen to your gut is a defining moment for a lot of successful business owners.
The decision to say “No” is still an action even if it is only because you have made a choice. Moving from the fear based “Yes” to everything for your company is shockingly liberating if not a little nerve wrecking at first. Building a clear vision of what your business does offer, who benefits from your value and who your company works with will easily let you decide what does NOT fit into that vision. That clarity is motivating, comforting and encouraging. That clarity is growth! It is progressing with purpose at its finest.